Man, 2009 sucked. The economy was awful. The Bush era ended, but all our hopes for change and renewal seemed to evaporate in a cloud of tea parties and town hall meetings. I feared for my job all year, and almost had a nervous breakdown as many of my coworkers were shown the door. I worried about every penny I spent. I continued looking for, and failing to find, another job. I continued to feel that I need a fresh start, yet be unable to find it. I still have no idea where my career is headed. My insomnia kept up its tricks. I experienced depression for the first time. My father-in-law died, leaving us with sole responsibility for my 89-year-old mother-in-law, a job with long hours and very few rewards.
Wow, was I lucky in 2009. I kept my job and my house when so many others lost theirs. My crazy plan to quit my job was derailed at the last minute, saving me from what would likely have been a financially disastrous move. My family was healthy and, for the most part, happy. We got to eat good food and live in a nice house, take bike rides and hikes, watch Mia learn to swim, visit museums, read books, go to parades and plays and puppet shows. We had a wonderful vacation at the beach, a trip to New York and several camping and sailing trips. We made some really good friends who have become a big part of our lives. My teenage step-sons revealed themselves to be remarkable people. My daughter transformed from a raging 3-year-old beast to a truly charming and affectionate 4-year-old. I was not forced to deny her anything, and she gave me more love and happiness than I can say.
What an incredible journey I made in 2009. The spiritual kind, I mean. I stayed with my meditation practice for a whole year. I learned that I cannot control anything, that everything is changing and slipping away, that I cannot hold on no matter how hard I try. That scared the hell out of me. But I also learned that, no matter how hard life gets, I can turn toward it, look it in the eye, accept it for what it is--rather than trying to resist it, raging that it should be some other way, thinking that I deserve something else. In this life, there is no "supposed to," there is only this moment and and the acceptance of it, exactly as it is. I learned that, at the center of everything, there is peace and stillness, and, with enough practice, I can sit in that space rather than becoming wrapped up in the drama and fear and stress. I learned that I don't have to do anything, or be anything, or figure anything out. It is enough to just be here, right now, feeling my feet on the ground and the air on my skin. Really, learning that was what 2009 was all about for me.
Now, bring it on 2010. I have a feeling you're going to try to kick my ass. Whatever happens, I promise to face it with open eyes and an open heart.